Shropshire Star

Fighting knights return to Ludlow Castle

You may have seen actors in armour recreating medieval battle at tourist sites this summer, but now you can see the real thing.

Armoured fighters at last year's Battle Heritage event

This bank holiday the Knights of Battle Heritage will be returning to Ludlow Castle to fight for real.

At most medieval re-enactment events the fighting is no more real than on a TV show such as Game of Thrones, but the Battle Heritage is as much about martial arts as it is about history.

Their swords may be blunted, but the sparring will be fiercely fought as contenders will once again be going head to head to lift the hotly contested Heritage Cup as the event is held in the grounds of the south Shropshire castle for a fourth year.

Last year fighters travelled from all over the UK to take part and the castle was packed with families coming to see the spectacle, with about 2,000 people attending altogether.

Organisers said some competitors needed stitches following the event, but there were no broken bones.

However, while the fighting is the focus it is not all just serious sport, with medieval themed activities for a full family day out surrounding the competition.

Sonja Belchere, custodian at the castle, said: "Battle Heritage came to us at Ludlow Castle from their inception.

"It came out of marshal arts and that is still their main focus.

"They didn't start out as re-enactors but they are learning the craft as they go, learning to be more visitor-focussed.

"They did the Download Festival this year and they go abroad – the sport is huge abroad and its growing here every year."

She said there will be battles throughout the day from 10am to 5pm on the August 28 bank holiday, and rain will not put them off.

Also on hand at the event, complimenting the fighters for the third year running, will be historical group The Company of the Raven, demonstrating the arming of the knights, archery, weapons and a live forge, with a full "living history" village.

There will also be medieval jester Kris Katchitt performing fire walking, fire eating and laying on a bed of nails, as well as a treasure hunt, dressing up and a "junior joust" for younger visitors.

There will also be a hog roast and refreshments or visitors are invited to bring their own picnic.

The UK Battle Heritage group has its headquarters in Tenbury Wells and performs across Europe, representing England in events in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.